In 1492 Christopher Columbus led an expedition made up of three wooden sailing ships across the vast Atlantic Ocean in search of a way to the land of the East by sailing in the direction of the setting sun. But instead of the Orient Columbus “discovered” a new world, so-called. At least it was new from the perspective of the centuries-old European civilization. (The Vikings did not make permanent settlements.) Columbus’ initial discovery of Hispaniola launched the age of global exploration. In a short time newly discovered lands began to be colonized by the Spanish, French, English, Irish and others.